In Florida, although drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance, they are not required to carry bodily injury insurance to drive on Florida’s roadways. Florida is a no-fault state which requires drivers to carry at least $10,000 of property damage liability. Property damage liability pays for damage a driver causes to other people’s property involved in a vehicle crash. However, despite many states requiring drivers to carry some type of bodily injury liability insurance, Florida does not require motorists to carry bodily injury insurance or uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM), which means that if someone causes you injury by and through their negligence, you may be on the hook to pay for any and all of your accident injury medical care. One visit to the ER can turn into tens of thousands of dollars. And even if you have health insurance, you may have to pay back the money your health insurance provider paid on your behalf for your accident injury care pursuant to Florida law.
Bodily injury liability limits start as low as $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident and can be as high as $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident or more. The policy holder may elect to purchase greater coverage for greater protection. Bodily injury coverage can pay for the injury you cause others should you make a mistake while driving. More, bodily injury insurance protects your assets in the event that you cause an accident with serious injuries and become at risk for a lawsuit.
We at Gerber Law frequently have to deliver bad news to seriously injured victims when the at fault driver carried no bodily injury insurance and the victim had no UM insurance. In sum, UM insurance is used to cover the costs of your injuries when the at fault driver had no, or had inadequate bodily injury insurance. Although it is elective coverage, there are many reasons for which you should contact your auto insurance carrier and obtain UM.
According to Fox Business, the average citizen will be involved in 3-4 automobile accidents during the course of their lifetime. And according to the Orlando Sentinel, more than 20% of Florida’s drivers have no auto insurance. Florida is 6th in the U.S. for drivers with no insurance. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2016, there were an average of 1081 auto crashes per day in the State of Florida. Those crashes resulted in nearly 3000 fatalities. According to the DMV in 2016 there were nearly 4000 additional auto accident injuries. Nearly 7000 accidents involving bicycles, and over 10,000 motorcycle accidents occurred in 2016. Nearly 700 pedestrians were killed in the 9,102 crashes involving pedestrians.
Inclement weather and an overly burdened infrastructure make an auto accident more likely in the State of Florida as compared to other states. More, we often have drivers on our roadways who are from out-of-state or out of country and they may not be aware of their surroundings, or the Florida laws governing our roadways.
In sum, although, you are not required to carry UM, due to the higher incidence of accidents and higher number of uninsured or underinsured drivers, we at Gerber Law encourage you to contact your auto insurance carrier to learn the cost of this coverage. Our clients are often pleasantly surprised over the affordability of UM. Although it may cost a little extra money, it offsets the great risk you take when driving in the Sunshine State. We at Gerber Law wish you safe travels.